The word ‘butter’ can suggest that a product is not vegan-friendly because it is traditionally seen as a dairy product made from the fat and protein components of milk or cream. But is cocoa butter vegan because it doesn’t contain milk?
Read on to find out if Cocoa butter is safe for vegans.
Cocoa butter is a type of fat derived from cocoa beans. In its raw form, it has a palish yellow color and is considered an edible fat. It has a mild chocolate flavor and aroma and used in the manufacture of chocolate confections, pharmaceutical ointments, and toiletries.
The cocoa fruit is first harvested from the Theobroma cacao trees. Then the cocoa beans are removed from the fruit, fermented fried, and roasted. The oil is then extracted using a hydraulic machine.
Cocoa butter contains high levels of saturated fats as stated below:
- Oleic Acid
- Palmitic Acid
- Stearic Acid
- Arachidic Acid
- Linoleic Acid
- Palmitoleic Acid
Humans have been using cocoa butter for many centuries both in food and drink. Its uses are both for pleasure and medicinal purposes. This is because it has lots of nutritional value to it including minerals and antioxidants that boost the immune system.
Furthermore, it helps release serotonin and endorphins in the body, which further help produce a feeling of calm and joy.
Is Cocoa Butter Vegan?
Yes. In its natural raw form cocoa butter is vegan.
However, it usually contains dairy ingredients in the making of milk and white chocolates. The ingredients used are condensed or powdered milk, which is obviously unsuitable for the vegan diet. Other products that need cocoa butter like baked goods, chocolate covered candies also use non-vegan friendly ingredients such as eggs and honey.
Another use of cocoa butter is in the beauty products as well and these can also contain animal ingredients, or tested on animals. Be sure to check the labels to make sure they are vegan compliant.
Still, there are ethical issues surrounding the cocoa plant responsible for giving us the butter. West Africa contributes 70% of the world’s cocoa beans. According to Shop Ethical, an ethical consumer guide, Cotê d’Ivoire has approximately 300,000 children working in dangerous conditions with more than half under the age of 14. The children have no access to education or healthcare and physical abuse is common.
Although the chocolate industry was aware of this, only recently have they started to make significant progress, and there’s still a long way to go before child exploitation is ended.
Cocoa butter in itself is vegan. However, since it is a common main ingredient, do take care when purchasing the end-products.
Also, conduct your research to find out if the sourcing of the cocoa beans is ethically done by the corporations that produce them.
If you are a vegan or thinking of becoming one, there are plenty of products that are friendly to the vegan diet. Dark chocolate is one of them!